The Date Fruit Elegies


Part of the Canto Cosas series.

In his first full-length collection of poetry, award-winning poet John Olivares Espinoza defies the common portrayal of the typical Southern Californian and depicts a much harsher yet deeply touching reality for one working-class family that struggles to make ends meet and save for the children's education. The poems in The Date Fruit Elegies elegantly yet accessibly chronicle the family’s experiences in Southern California's Coachella Valley: a mother and her boys share a meal of two cheeseburgers, ever mindful to save a piece for a future meal; two wage-earning teen boys take a late-night odyssey in search of a dinner other than cheese and vanilla pudding; a college student spends eight hours kneeling next to his landscaper father, helping to pull weeds. Dignified and never sentimental, these poems create vivid imagery that does not soon fade from the reader's mind.

"[John Olivares Espinoza's] poems unfold with grace and emotion, bringing us in as readers. . . ." —Juan Delgado, author of A Rush of HandsEl Campo, and Green Web

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About Canto Cosas 

Funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, this series is designed to give further exposure to poets who have achieved a significant level of critical recognition through individual chapbooks and publication in periodicals or anthologies or both, but who have not yet had their own books of poetry published. Under the watchful eye of series editor and award-winning poet Francisco Aragón, the books in Canto Cosas alternate between the experimental and the traditional. There are no necessary restrictions on ethnicity, nationality, philosophy, ideology, or language; we will simply continue our commitment to producing high-quality poetry. Our goal is to make the work of these poets accessible to a wider readership of critics and poetry buffs alike.

John Olivares Espinoza
Author Bio: 

John Olivares Espinoza received Bachelor of Arts degrees in sociology and in creative writing from the University of California at Riverside and an MFA from the Arizona State University Virginia G. Piper Center’s poetry program. The author of two chapbooks, Gardeners of Eden (Chicano Chapbook series, 2000) and Aluminum Times (Swan Scythe Press, 2002), he now teaches at the National Hispanic University in San Jose, California.

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